Life

Failings

 Why am I telling the world this? Why am I telling you this, you, reader, the one who has come to this site with a journalist's promise of renewed attention to this blog; why to you, the one who may very well want to assess my professionalism, who may be weighing a job offer or a recent freelance pitch I've made;  why tell you, who may be evaluating the credibility of my reporting after I reached out to arrange an interview; why you, the potential new fan who's curious about the quality of my work?

Because, I've been wasting too much time trying to prove myself, trying to fit all the guidelines I'm supposed to fit to get your attention. I am here. I am who I say I am. I am what you see on this screen. I am the voice you hear in my narration. I am the eye behind my lens. I am the fingertips on this keyboard. The best way, the only way for me to go forward is to embrace my failure.

Do what I would do.

I'm going to someplace not Portland this weekend. If you feel like following me, you might head east of Idaho, south of the Hudson Bay, north of Mali and west of Bhutan.

However, if I were staying town, there are a number of things I might do:

  • Check out what the Cascades Volcano Observatory has to say about the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.
  • Explore the Sunday Parkways in Northeast.
  • Make up for totally spacing last Saturday on National Train Day and ride the train somewhere.
  • Find a hammock to string up in my yard and whip together some micheladas.
  • Finally finish reading The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring after eight years of constantly losing every copy of Tolkein's classic I get.
  • Write letters on my typewriter.
  • Head to the coast and see if there are any last minute yurt cancellations (doubtful).

Have anything else a would-be me should do? Let me know in the comments ... and share some ideas for later, when I'm actually not somewhere that's not where I am right now.

Cooking Up Frustration

I understand – trust me I understand and kinda don't want to discuss – that the publishing world is rapidly changing. Even if it weren't, it takes time and patience to get something published. But I wonder about the rules of the game. With information spreading so rapidly how am I supposed to do this, to wait patiently on a story that is constantly evolving? Even if things go well with this story, how do we publish, how do we write or report anything? How do we set boundaries? Do we just say “that's the story” even as it continues to change? Do we just cut convenient slices of ever-lengthening timelines out?

Take offs

 am convinced in this moment that the city is limitless, recreating itself as it crawls across the landscape. Too many discount it as a disjointed whole lacking some maturity shared by the world's great destinations. But it is only here, it is only this sea of stories crashing upon each other, glittering from the ripples in the water. As the waves draw near I know I am here, only here, perhaps realizing only further that home means far less than a mindset. It is just another constructed identity.

Landings

Portland proper, if not its suburbs, swirls with the pot luck attitude of a true community, although strong, valid critiques exist of redevelopment within the city as well. Far more than any place I’ve been in the United States except perhaps, as a matter of fact, the original Portland, this is a self-determined city, including the blemishes of its modernity.

As I land and swirl through so many past worlds of mine, I remember I can move about the city without thought. However, I’m still constantly discovering more beneath Portland's surface. The only time I ever had a similar sensation was at my five-year college reunion last year, and that feeling was aided by the presence of so many others who had experienced that period of my life with me. But where the grounding I find among my undergraduate peers is most firmly rooted in a mindset, there seem to be physical roots here in Portland.

Getting these keys moving again

 few weeks ago I started typing on one of my dad's old typewriters. The arms of each key on the Royal Arrow moved slowly, as if moving through molasses. My words tripped over themselves,  caught in the machine's throat. Dust dulled the dark gray casing of the machine. Another typewriter sat on a table across the room. A portable Corona, its curved black shell was decorated with a gold-colored paint, although the decoration was muted somewhat by the years passed since the machine was owned by the journalist Melville Jacoby, a cousin of my grandmother's who died in an accident in the Pacific as he covered World War II. Also known as Mel Jack, I hope to share his story another time -- I only invoke him now because I can't help thinking about those machines, about what it feels to squeeze words onto those pages and what it feels like at this moment to string words across this screen.